The first day is very much a prep day. Getting our cameramen used to the weight of the cameras and getting the team working closely together is a necessity. The team practice the jumps and their positions on the ground first. This is called dirt diving.
Pam had a rocky start to the day. On the first jump of the day her primary shoot failed. Somehow the release pin on her shoot rather than freeing when the cord was pulled, drove its way into the pack jamming it shut. Fortunately her experience told her to stay calm and release her auxiliary chute.
Back down safely on solid ground she seemed remarkably calm about everything.
BJ referred to it as a confidence dive. “It does the opposite than you may think, rather than freaking you out it makes you realise how prepared you are for these instances. Hey, that is why we have 2 chutes!
It was at this point that our conversations back in London and all the planning for the shoot suddenly became real. We were going to spend the next 5 days coordinating six jumps a day with some of the most highly trained sky divers in their field, creating some of the most complicated aerial formations they had ever attempted. This was no longer just sketches and technical conversations, this was real people doing some of the most challenging aerial stunts of their lives.
BJ Worth talks about the challenges the skydivers face in forming large scale aerial formations.